Monday, August 30, 2010

"I need a bohemian atmosphere."

Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick.  The environment of the study should be one of philosophical transcendence and inspirational bliss.  However, this late entry in the month of Saint Augustine has become cranky because we just finished watching Michael Caine in Harry Brown.  Yes, Michael Caine, that icon of '60s swinging London.  "My name is Michael Caine."  In his greatest film yet: Get Carter A Wheelchair.  We as moviegoers should be thankful that today's savvy industry leaders refuse to let the Charles Bronson Death Wish franchise disappear.  There is hope for every aging actor to become a revenge-driven vigilante.  My heart breaks at the thought that this brilliant writing formula didn't happen sooner.  How I would have loved to have seen Walter Brennan still active post-The Real McCoys, armed with an AK-47, gunning down drug dealers in Compton.  Can't you picture Wilford Brimley pistol whipping some hood in Griffith Park terrorizing a blue haired lady with her chihuahua?  But I digress.  Back to Michael Caine.  The swinging '60s icon.  What a load of crap.  Just because he wore black, horn-rimmed glasses as spy Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File didn't mean Monsieur Caine was a bookish, liberal intellectual.  I've enjoyed so many of his early films, but just because they were set in a certain time and space doesn't mean the actor himself reflected our particular sympathies.  Beware, my friend...Mr. Caine has always been a conservative Tory who will do any film as long as you meet his paycheck.  Remember all those disaster movies of the '70s?  The Swarm?  And certainly from that point on, Michael Caine is at his finest.  "I can't pick up my Oscar, I'm filming Jaws: The Revenge."  Remember how bad his glasses looked?  Hanging around with Joan Collins and all those questionable rich businessmen from Tehran?  Oh, those were the good old days.  I guess I'm going through a love/hate catharsis with Mr. Caine.  I still own the original The Italian Job, the original Get Carter (and I guess I can give Michael credit for being good in the original Sleuth as well as the remake), and I really did enjoy the film Flawless.  And I admire much about Pulp except for the animal killing.  I can quote dialogue between him and Oskar Homolka in Funeral In Berlin.  So what's the problem?  Harry Brown, for one.  And the fact that Michael Caine still does it for the money first and the art second.  For every Hannah And Her Sisters, there's The Island and four other god awful titles that I do not wish to flog you with at this moment.  Man, I am cranky.  I just wanted to talk about my digs.  Instead, here I am doing a bad Sight & Sound article about how Michael Caine's best films depend upon his director and screenplay writer.  Oh my god.  So how do I get out of this?  Oh, okay.  When Michael Caine was a struggling actor, he shared lodgings with another struggling bohemian actor, Terence Stamp. 

Whew!  Well, kids, there's nothing like those early artistic days for capturing the bohemian spirit.  I had those days, yes sir, Jim.  Before I got married, the Artist As A Younger Man enjoyed the environment and the enthusiasm that decorated it.  A man's home was his Kastle, and in my Kase, sometimes it was in the truest Kafka sense.  The hovel as a home had to reflect all of the passions that kept me young at heart, bladder and knee. 

So now we are tuned into the Home & Garden channel on acid.  Observe the neo-gothic, early Armenian, post-modern, pre-surrealistic, proto-psychedelic, art deco, with a hint of Swedish moderne, and a whiff of pre-Weimar, post-Bauhaus, early Russian-Turkish hallucination.  A Frank Lloyd Wright design after a heavy Mexican dinner.  A collision of Amish and Danish decor with Mayan/Pagan trauma.  This is perhaps initially and shockingly evident upon viewing the illustrations on display.  Note the cacophony of merging motifs and themes.  One can see the pilgrim's attempt at building a tower of Babel made entirely of vinyl.  Reaching to the heavens, this lost library of sound.  Like a memory of fabled Alexandria, from Amon Duul II to Zabriskie Point.

The rooms (which in debate, could be considered just one room, including the shower) were not unlike an early salon.  Tapestries on the walls, peacock feathers sticking out of German wine bottles, heroes and mementos on display.  Trash, works of art and magical things too.  Plus dust and wires.  "Dustin Wires?  Wasn't he that '60s actor who got it on with Anne Bancroft?"  And speaking of German wine, as has been noted in earlier entries, Space Pirate Radio shows were fueled on the power of German white wine.  Here now is photographic proof of the stockpile, strategically located next to the photo of Einstein on the back cover of the M album, the Japanese poster for Yellow Magic Orchestra, and the image of Pamela Stephenson as Magritte from The Face magazine.  For anyone interested in the obscure, the plastic glass in front of the vintage Coca-Cola tray and green glass container of collected matchbooks is, in fact, the one given to me by Roger Waters upon my first meeting with Pink Floyd at the L.A. Sports Arena.  The Chalice Revealed!

And scandalously we continue into the private quarters of the bedroom.  Note the sinful one-sheet posters for Emmanuelle The Joys Of A Woman, Nastassja Kinski in Stay As You Are, and the obscured poster of Laura Antonelli in The Divine Nymph. 

And finally, for adults only, the ultimate destination, the last place to hide, o banheiro surrealista erotico!  Oh my!

Oh my, oh my!  La salle de bains surrealiste erotique.  El cuarto de bano surrealista erotico.  Das erotische surrealistische Badezimmer.  De erotische surrealistische badkamers.  The erotic surrealist bathroom.  Where hygiene and art come together in collage.  I thought it was beautiful.  More beautiful than the Louvre.  Ironically, when I was in Paris visiting the Louvre, my parents who had an unexpected visitor, found themselves vacating their apartment and coming to stay at mine.  Oh dear.  Neither of them had ever visited the ESP (the erotic surrealist pissoir).  My father said that being in the bathroom was rather disquieting.  Wherever he looked, someone was munching on someone else.  After hearing this, I came to my senses, became a Catholic and entered the priesthood.  Sure.